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MWCC Child Watch Program Receives Support from George R. Wallace Foundation

The Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce a generous award to support the Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) Child Watch program, which provides enrichment for the children of MWCC students while they attend to their academic requirements. The George R. Wallace Foundation grant of $30,000 will be split over the next two fiscal years and used to fund two new student workers for the Child Watch Program, providing over 1200 hours of coverage, including evening hours which are in high demand.

The Child Watch program launched in the spring of 2022 to support parenting students seeking childcare during their kids’ February and April school vacations, which do not align with the college academic calendar. It became apparent that drop-in services were needed at other times as well to allow parenting students to attend class, meet with advisors, join study groups, and participate in other activities at MWCC.

“The Child Watch program has been an amazing benefit for our students,” stated James Vander Hooven, President of MWCC. “It directly increases educational access and equity for parenting students, eliminating a major obstacle on their journey to a degree.”

The demand for Child Watch grew in its first year by over 300%, demonstrating that access to childcare is vital for parenting students to succeed in college. Leading the increase in demand is the increase in enrollment because of the MassReconnect free community college program for adults who are 25 and older. The spring enrollment saw an increase of 58.4% in new student enrollment, and recent campus student survey results show that close to 50% of students are parenting, and 15% find that childcare is an obstacle as they pursue their education.

“Expanding the Child Watch program in the wake of the recent enrollment growth will allow parenting students to achieve their goals,” stated Ann Reynolds, Academic Coordinator and CCAMPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in School) Advisor. “We are thrilled to be able to invest in these students’ success.”

The George R. Wallace Foundation, established in 1963, supports educational programs, museums and libraries serving the Fitchburg and Leominster area.